Thursday, July 20th, 2017

K2 Use

K2 is an herb and chemical blend that is sold legally in the US as incense. K2 is produced from chemicals which are similar in structure to THC. It is smoked to produce a high that is comparable to marijuana, but users claim that K2 is ten times as potent as pot. K2 has become popular among teens and young adults.

K2 use has increased because of its semi-legal status and availability. K2 can be purchased at smoke shops, convenience stores, or on the internet. It is sold in three ounce packages. Also, many people on parole or probation use K2 as an alternative to marijuana because it is difficult to detect most kinds of K2 in traditional drug screening, though many drug screening kit manufacturers are working towards rectifying that. Drug screening kits that can detect some strains of K2 are still not widely used, however, because they are expensive and only test for the five most common strains.

K2 is one of the new, “legal” drugs on the market, along with “bath salts”, kava, and kratom. One in nine high school seniors reported use of a synthetic drug last year. Because they can be purchased online or in stores, few are aware of the risk involved when using these drugs. Not only are these drugs addictive, they are also very dangerous. Government agencies have enacted emergency task forces to regulate the distribution of these substances because of the spike of injuries and fatalities observed over the last year in users of these drugs.

K2 is also known as Spice, Genie Silver and Yucatan Fire. It is sold as “incense” and labeled “not for human consumption.” These herbal mixtures are infused with chemicals that activate the same receptors as marijuana. The side effects, however, are much more drastic. Smoking K2 can produce a strong high as well as psychosis, rapid heartbeat, seizures, and even death. The American Association of Poison Control has observed over a 50% increase in calls related to K2 this year compared to last. Synthetic pot related deaths have also spiked in recent months.

Government agencies are having difficulty regulating K2 because the chemists that are designing it can easily stay one step ahead of the regulations. When one chemical formula is banned, synthetic pot chemists simply change the structure slightly, and, for a time, the new compound can elude both drug tests and regulatory laws.  U.S antiterrorism labs, developed after 9/11 to combat biological and chemical weapons, may be enlisted in the attempt to regulate the nearly 150 types of K2 on the market today. These labs are charged with researching the chemical composition of these substances and developing tests for them.

Because K2 has only been on the market a few years (it was introduced in Europe in 2004,) its long terms side effects are unknown. Several studies have begun to look into the side-effects of K2, but it’s just too soon to tell. There is evidence, however, that K2 may cause osteoporosis, liver disease, and some kinds of cancer. K2 has also been shown to cause depression, and there have been some suicides linked to K2 use.